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Pure Evoke Home review: The one-box audio system you’ve been waiting for?

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
400
inc VAT

The Pure Evoke Home is convenient and easy to use, but its sound quality is only decent when it could be dazzling

Pros 
DAB+, internet radio and streaming
Slot-loading CD player
Easy to set up and navigate
Cons 
Sound could be more detailed and dynamic
Lacks support for major streaming services
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The Pure Evoke Home is the largest, most expensive model in Pure’s revamped Evoke series, which sees the UK DAB radio specialists reinventing its most successful range.

Its trademark stained wood cabinets and translucent white speaker grills have been replaced by something more modern, even Scandinavian, but the audio provision remains the main attraction. The Evoke Home combines DAB+, FM and internet radio, Spotify streaming, Bluetooth and even a CD player with a powerful stereo speaker setup and a new fold-out colour display.

In a market bursting with retro radios and often dated interfaces and controls, there’s definitely room for something new and exciting that can shake things up, but has Pure’s all-in-one audio system got what it takes?

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Pure Evoke Home review: What do you get for the money?

The Pure Evoke Home has an RRP of £400 and is available from various retailers including Amazon and Robert Dyas. It’s packing an impressive driver arrangement under its attractive Skandi-influenced exterior, with two 20mm tweeters and a pair of 3.5in woofers delivering up to 100W audio output. But its main allure lies in its compact size, and the fact that it has everything you need to listen to content from most of your favourite sources, plus a few you might not have discovered yet.

You have DAB+ for your UK radio stations, and internet radio to listen to great specialist stations from New York to New Delhi, Berlin and Barcelona to Busan. You have a CD player for those albums you bought in the eighties, nineties and noughties, and Spotify Connect for the playlists you’re setting up now. And if you use other streaming services or there’s something else not covered, you have Bluetooth connectivity for that as well.

This is an expensive system, but it’s actually quite reasonably priced compared to rivals. The Roberts Stream 67 has all the same sources plus a few more, but costs around £580, while the rather beautiful Ruark Audio R3 costs around £650. Both are luxury audio devices, though, so the Evoke Home has its work cut out if it wants to match them.

Pure Evoke Home review: How easy is it to use?

For a system with a lot of features, setup is relatively simple. A wizard takes you through selecting a source for the time and date, then connecting to your home Wi-Fi network using WPS or manual methods. Here the 2.8in colour screen and circular control pad below it make things slightly easier than the three line text displays and push buttons of old, and the Evoke Home had no issues hooking up or maintaining a connection. It scans through the available station signals when you first switch to DAB+ mode, and from there on you can use the menus to find and select something to listen to, or connect to a Bluetooth source.

Pure has got a lot of things right here. Even on some high-end internet radios, actually finding stations to listen to can be a total nightmare, with slow-scrolling station names and painfully opaque menu structures that soon have you clawing for a companion app on your smartphone. The Evoke Home is one of a handful where you can track down stations by content type, location and genre without wanting to scream in frustration, though you sometimes wish there was a back button to take you back to the last menu when you pick a station to find out it’s not what you’re looking for.

The Evoke Home also scores points for having podcasts listed as a separate source, and for having such a smooth-loading, quiet, slot-loading CD player. If you have some old CDs handy, it’s great to give them an airing once again.

DAB+ stations, internet stations and podcasts can all be mapped to one of the six preset buttons, though with podcasts you can only favourite an episode, rather than the series as a whole. Plus, if you prefer to work with a smartphone app, you can use Undok to track down new stations and control the Evoke Home remotely.

You need to set up and use Spotify Connect from within the Spotify app on your device, but otherwise it’s as easy as tapping on the icon and telling Spotify where you want your music played. It’s disappointing that there’s no support for other music streaming services, but at least you have Bluetooth to cover these things, not to mention an Aux-in at the back, next to a headphone socket.

Pure Evoke Home review: How does it sound?

As a radio, the Evoke Home mostly sounds great. There’s a nice weight and authority to spoken word material, whether it’s news, sports commentary or Radio 4 dramas, and voices come through loud and clear, even against background noise or music.

Running through a range of DAB+ and internet stations, you can also hear the Evoke Home excel at certain genres, particularly small group jazz, soul and folksy, acoustic singer songwriter stuff. Instruments and vocals are warm but detailed, and there’s a solid but not overly heavy bass. The Evoke Home also has the power to go loud without distorting or sounding harsh and shouty. Feed it the right material, and it’s a class act.

Feed it the wrong material, and things can go slightly south. With rock or electronic music, for example, the bass can come across as boomy, while the sound takes on a slightly boxy tone. It’s better with CDs and Amazon Music’s HD material over Bluetooth, but even here there’s a little something missing; some texture or nuance in a string section or an overdriven guitar riff that you might hear on something more accomplished.

The sound is smooth and enjoyable, and tweakable to some extent with the onboard EQ. However, you don’t quite get the wow factor that you might expect for £400. I remember feeling much the same about the Roberts Stream 67, so it might be that fitting all these features in one box and hitting premium quality sound is just too big an ask.

Pure Evoke Home review: What could be improved?

Apart from the sound, not too much. While the user interface isn’t perfect, it’s better than most we’ve seen before. The biggest improvement would be support for more services. We’d love to have the option of Tidal, Amazon Music, YouTube Music or Deezer, not to mention built-in connectivity for Chromecast or Airplay2.

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Pure Evoke Home review: Should I buy it?

It’s definitely worth considering. Sure, the sonic output isn’t perfect, but it’s good by the standards of other DAB+ and internet radios and there’s a lot to be said for having access to so much of your favourite radio and music from within a single, compact box. However, if you don’t need a CD player or internet radio, you might think about a separate radio and streaming speaker, or a Hi-Fi micro system. You won’t get the same convenience, feature set or ease-of-use, but you might get a more dynamic and exciting sound.

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